Carmen, I’ve cracked you

By Daniel Kramer [The Guardian, 12 January 2011]
In 2007, after six years working as a theatre director, the English National Opera asked me to direct Harrison Birtwistle’s opera Punch and Judy. I was joyous – until I heard the music. It sounded like mutant toads belching on a broken assembly line. But I had to make it work. I locked myself up for six weeks and listened to the music over and over, forcing myself to try to understand what each clarinet and trumpet, each wacky drum beat was saying.